Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Physical Manifestations of Stress and the Importance of a Regular Yoga Practice

This weekend I have discovered two things:

1. I am allergic to jalapenos
2. I hate my stress hives

The body does crazy things when under stress. I always find it amazing that we are often surprised when our health and body suffers when our mind is under stress. Our brain is connected and controls our body people- if we stress our brain it will come out in our body.

In 2006 I flew across the country to begin my new life, my new job in Vernon BC. I was beyond nervous, anxious, tired and stressed. Immediately when I landed I started scratching, almost absentmindedly, behind my knees. By the time I arrived at my friend Margaret's apartment my legs were covered in hives. By the next day my entire body was covered in itchy, red welts. They lasted two weeks before they started to fade.

To this day, I've noticed that in moments of stress I'll have a few hives pop up on my knees... nothing major- just enough to itch. But Friday, after my gig at JustUs!, I broke out in full blown, body covering hives.

Life has been extremely stressful lately. A new job, house hunting, some "family" health troubles, my grandmère passed away two weeks ago (two days before my birthday)... combine that with no time for yoga, eating well or any real physical activity and you get a hive covered Lisa.

I immediately reintroduced a yoga practice that weekend (and starting this weekend plan on recommitting to a daily 20min yoga practice, weaning off to 3x a week). Trying to practice yoga while covered in hives really isn't any fun.

Then Friday, after my gig, I ate nachos with the jalapeno peppers picked off. As I ate, I felt my lip start to tingle and feel a bit swollen... but I attributed that to the black velvets. That night, when I looked in the mirror my entire face was covered in hives and my hands were puffy and itchy messes. Awesome.

Lesson: don't give up yoga practice for ANYTHING, Lush "Dreamwash Shower Smoothie" with calamine lotion and aloe works wonders on hives (too bad it isn't perfectly "clean" ingredient wise), and I need to be more conscious of my stress levels- reconnecting daily so they don't get out of control.

What about you? Does your stress manifest itself physically? How do you manage?


  1. Yes! I get hives too!! It just recently happened to me as well... My hair also falls out (thank god I have lots of it!!) Seriously, F U stress ;)

  2. Your advice on deep breathing has been helping me a lot lately. Just even taking a moment to exhale lets go some of my tension. ALSO! Keeping a strict and hard line on the separation of work life and family life helps to keep the stress at bay.

  3. Oh no, my sympathies on a very stressful time.

    I am learning that meditation, yoga, eating well, walking and sleep is the only way for me to manage stress and if I get too busy for them than I will suffer the consequences.

    Simple as that....oh that it were!

  4. Yikes, I hope you are feeling better! How did the JustUs set go btw? -- Christopher

  5. For some reason I thought you had closed your blog down! Glad I decided to check back! I have a great Yin Yoga DVD that has saved me on those days when I get stressed but don't want to go to class, plus it's really good at slowing me down and helping me meditate.

  6. Oh stress - big problem for me, as well, and it manifests in awful things. Breakouts. Two periods a month. Extreme cramps. Illness. Oh not good! Hope you are doing better!


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